Saints stretched their lead at the top of the Betfred Super League to 10 points with a 14-6 derby win over Wigan.
Morgan Knowles scored the crucial try in a blazing team performance that saw 1 to 17 stand proud at the DW Stadium.
He was a highlight reel, as was Jack Ashworth – playing in his first game since 2016 – Matty Lees and James Roby.
Justin Holbrook said his skipper was “one of the very best in the world” afterwards and there was no denying his input on the win.
He made three terrific cover tackles in the second half alone to backstop his team to victory.
Saints were the better side throughout but couldn’t shake off a resilient Warriors who threw everything at them.
Dom Peyroux opened the scoring on 10 minutes as Theo Fages’ kick bounced off the Wigan defence for him to pounce.
Danny Richardson hit the conversion and then made it 8-0 with a penalty after Saints were impeded following Luke Thompson’s 30 metre break.
The visitors continued to press but were forced back on their heals to defend two sets right on their own line.
The first saw Wigan gain a drop out but a huge tackle from Luke Douglas and Lees on Taulima Tautai set the tone for the Warriors’ forward to drop the ball moments later.
Ashworth entered the fray in the final seven minutes and instantly set Roby and Jonny Lomax off on a break – before the skipper made a try saving tackle on Gabe Hamlin at the other end.
John Bateman then did the same as Makinson broke following Lomax’ pass.
8-0 up at half time, Saints edged the game further away from the Warriors with a long period of pressure that saw Knowles cross.
He went within inches five minutes into the half and then Fages set Tommy Makinson away after Kyle Amor’s run.
Lomax went agonisingly close moment later too but Fages hit Knowles on a class line for 12-0.
Richardson taking the lead out to 14 points with the conversion.
Wigan wouldn’t go away though and it took all of Saints’ defensive talent to get them through it.
The Warriors had one chalked off for a double movement on the hour mark and then Regan Grace had to be agile enough to stop a kick to the corner five minutes later.
Saints were then made to drop out before Ryan Morgan came up with a try saving tackle to keep the line intact.
But the pressure was building and within the next two plays, Sam Tomkins cut back inside to make it game on.
This Saints team never gives up though and they were not going to give their hosts a second bite.
Makinson once again went close with another barnstorming run as the game entered it final knockings, before the defence then doing the trick to seal Saints’ 13th win on the bounce.
Justin Holbrook said James Roby was one of the best players he’d ever seen as the skipper led Saints to their second derby win of the season.
The mercurial hooker was pivotal as his side beat the Warriors 14-6.
“He made an unbelievable effort and was the difference between the two sides,” Holbrook said. “I have never seen a player that defends in the middle make so many cover tackles in the middle of the field. Usually you see things like that on the wing but he made several tackles to stop dangerous opportunities tonight.
“Both sides were run off their feet, but he is the middle keeping going. He is a phenomenal player and we are so grateful and happy he is in our side. He is one of the best I have ever seen; one of the best in the world.”
He continued: “I think we were the best team tonight but I don’t think it was easy. It was one of the toughest games I have watched. There wasn’t a lot of tries – neither team gave an inch – and it showed the brutality of our game for 80 minutes.
“We were the ones creating chances, but we weren’t good enough to finish them off and they kept on coming. It was another cracking derby and happy we came away with the win.”
Holbrook said both Ben Barba and Mark Percival were late withdrawals from the side, but should be fit to return next week.
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) 19 July 2018
No derby is complete without a huge hit or two pic.twitter.com/H7oLQmWiro
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) 20 July 2018
Goals: Tomkins (1 from 1)
Tries: Peyroux, Knowles
Goals: Richardson (3 from 3)
REF: R Hicks
1. Sam Tomkins; 2. Tom Davies, 41. Chris Hankinson, 3. Dan Sarginson, 22. Liam Marshall; 34. Josh Woods, 7. Sam Powell; 8. Tony Clubb, 9. Thomas Leuluai, 10. Ben Flower, 19. Willie Isa, 14. John Bateman, 25. Romain Navarrete.
Subs: 17. Taulima Tautai, 30. Gabriel Hamlin, 39. Liam Paisley, 40. Joe Greenwood.
1. Jonny Lomax; 5. Adam Swift, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 19. Regan Grace; 6. Theo Fages, 18. Danny Richardson; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 16. Luke Thompson, 17. Dom Peyroux, 15. Morgan Knowles, 12. Jon Wilkin.
Subs: 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 20. Matty Lees, 21. Jack Ashworth.
Next up for Saints are Warrington on Thursday July 26 the Totally Wicked Stadium (7:45pm). Tickets are now on sale from the Ticket Office, by calling 01744 455052 or online here.